THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
VICE PRESIDENT GORE ANNOUNCES ARGENTINA
TO OPEN MARKETS TO U.S. PORK
Also Announces Illinois to Receive $300 Million and Iowa to Receive $350 Million in Farm Assistance
Washington, DC -- Vice President Gore announced today that a new agreement between the United States and Argentina will open Argentina's markets to U.S. pork, and he also announced that the new budget deal includes $300 million in farm assistance for Illinois and $350 million for Iowa.
"This agreement with the government of Argentina is good news for pork producers -- and good news for the economies of Iowa and Illinois," Vice President Gore said.
"I want to say a special thanks today to Senator Tom Harkin, Congressman Lane Evans, Congressman Leonard Boswell and the Iowa and Illinois Pork Producers for their leadership on these issues," he added. "This new agreement is a product of their vision and their commitment to farmers in Iowa and Illinois."
Since 1992, Argentina has prohibited the importation of fresh pork meat from the United States because of a stated desire to protect Argentine hog production from three diseases. In 1997, the United States provided scientific data to show that the transmission of the diseases through fresh meat was minimal.
Today's agreement will lift the ban and will open Argentina's markets to U.S. pork. This new agreement is expected to bring up to $10 million in the next year to America's pork producers, and is estimated to become a $60 million market in the future. It comes at a critical time: market prices for pork are low and market conditions are unstable, placing increased importance on opening new markets to enhance exports.
In addition, the Vice President announced that the budget deal between the Administration and Congress will provide $300 million for Illinois farmers and $350 million for Iowa farmers. This assistance will help farmers recover from the dramatic drop in international demand, and will ensure that farmers have the resources they need to plant next spring's crops.
"My message here today is simple: farmers in Iowa, Illinois and across this nation are crucial to America's success," Vice President said. "That's why President Clinton and I fought hard for a budget agreement that would provide critical assistance to help farmers weather the storm that is crippling our farm economy. This agreement is a step in the right direction and we will continue to work to provide our nation's farmers the resources they need to succeed in the 21st Century."
Earlier this year, the President protected Illinois and Iowa farmers by vetoing an Agriculture Appropriations bill with only $4.2 billion in emergency relief because, he said, "it failed to address adequately the crisis now gripping our Nation's farm community."
The budget deal contains $6 billion -- over 40% more than the vetoed bill -- in emergency farm assistance. Overall, the bill will: increase the amount for crop loss compensation by $228 million, for a total of $2.6 billion; and increase the amount for economic loss compensation by $1.4 billion, for a total of $3 billion.
Finally, the Vice President touted another Administration victory for farmers in the Midwest and across America -- winning full IMF funding of $17.9 billion. This is another critical victory for Iowa farmers because Iowa is the country's second largest agricultural export state, shipping $4.7 billion in agricultural products abroad (8% of the US total).